FALL RIVER — The murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was abruptly halted Thursday when a bomb threat forced the evacuation of the courthouse.
Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh informed jurors shortly after noon that “the building is being evacuated at this time,” and court officials said a bomb threat had been called in. The threat was cleared around 1 p.m., and the trial resumed an hour later.
“There is absolutely no reason to believe that the interruption . . . was related to this case,” Garsh told jurors when the trial resumed.
The bomb scare was followed later in the day by reports that Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancee, will soon testify. The Associated Press, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that prosecutors plan to call her as a witness on Friday.
A spokesman for Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn’s office declined to comment, and lawyers for Jenkins and Hernandez did not respond to inquiries.
Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the June 2013 slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27. Authorities believe Jenkins removed a box from the couple’s North Attleborough home that contained the murder weapon the day after the killing.
Jenkins faces a perjury indictment connected to the case, and prosecutors have granted her immunity to testify in Hernandez’s trial.
During testimony Thursday, prosecutors showed jurors several checks that Jenkins wrote to her housekeeping staff in April and May of 2013. The checks could emerge as key pieces of evidence when Jenkins takes the stand.
Shayanna’s sister, Shaneah Jenkins, who was dating Lloyd when he was killed, has testified that she visited Shayanna and Hernandez at their home the day after the murder and that Shayanna asked to borrow her car so she could get cash to pay the house cleaners.
Instead, prosecutors allege, Shayanna loaded a black garbage bag that contained the murder weapon into the trunk of her sister’s car and drove off. Shaneah said Shayanna was “secretive” and “not normal” that day after she received text messages and later went down to the basement with the black garbage bag folded in her hand.
According to prosecutors, Shayanna Jenkins had just received coded texts from Hernandez asking her to remove a box from the basement. An alleged accomplice has told investigators that Hernandez put guns in a box after the shooting, court records show.
Authorities have not recovered the .45 caliber Glock used to kill Lloyd.
In a related development, Garsh ruled Wednesday the jury can hear recordings of jailhouse conversations that Hernandez had with Shayanna Jenkins and others.